Phil Rosenzweig plaats in “The Halo Effect” kanttekeningen bij het fenomeen “blijvend succes van bedrijven”. Dit als tegenreactie op allerlei publicaties waarin managementgoeroes juist dat blijvende succes voorspellen als je hun aanbevelingen maar gauw implementeert.

Rosenzweig haalt daarbij onderzoek aan van Richard Foster en Sarah Kaplan van McKinsey. Rosenzweig verwoordt hun bevindingen als volgt.

Guess how many companies on the S&P 500 in 1957 were still on the S&P 500 in 1997, forty years later? Only 74. The other 426 were gone-nudged aside by other companies, or acquired, or bankrupt. And of the 74 survivors, guess how many outperformed the S&P 500 over the time period? Only 12 out of 74. The other 62 survived, yes, but they didn’t thrive. Foster and Kaplan wrote: “The last several decades we have celebrated big corporate survivors, praising their ‘excellence,’ their longevity, their ability to last.” But companies that last longest usually aren’t the best performers. Enduring greatness is neither very likely, nor, when we find it, does it tend to be associated with high performance.

En dat gaat nog verder.

Foster and Kaplan conclude: “McKinsey’s long-term studies of corporate birth, survival, and death in America clearly show that the corporate equivalent of El Dorado, the golden company that performs better than the markets, has never existed. It is a myth. Managing for survival, even among the best and most revered corporations, does not guarantee strong long-term performance for shareholders. In fact, just the opposite is true. In the long run, the markets always win” 

Blijvende successen zijn eigenlijk, op wellicht enkele uitzonderingen na, niet te realiseren.

But the main point is that high performance is difficult to maintain, and the reason is simple: In a free market system, high profits tend to decline thanks to what one economist called “the erosive forces of imitation, competition, and expropriation.”


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